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Public defender to represent woman accused of striking two

March 7th, 2014 9:51 pm by Brad Hicks

Public defender to represent woman accused of striking two

Kris Waterhouse made her initial appearance in Unicoi County General Sessions Court Friday. (Brad Hicks/Johnson City Press)

ERWIN — The North Carolina woman arrested Thursday after police say she struck two pedestrians — a 6-year-old boy and his grandmother — at a Unicoi bus stop made her first appearance in Sessions Court on Friday.

Kris Ann Waterhouse, 57, 790 Blevins Branch Road, Bakersville, N.C., was charged with passing a stopped school bus and two counts of felony reckless aggravated assault.

At Thursday’s hearing, Sessions Court Judge David Shults appointed the public defender to represent Waterhouse. Her bond was set at $20,000. Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Curtis said a blood sample was taken following the collision, but he said it could be some time before the results are available. He said the results of the blood draw may enhance Waterhouse’s charges, but without proof of intoxication at this time, the bond set was appropriate.

Waterhouse is scheduled to again appear in Sessions Court on March 27.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said the collision that injured Austin Smith and his grandmother, Katherine Bryant, occurred about 6:30 a.m. at a bus stop at 5228 Unicoi Drive. The bus was traveling southbound and had stopped to pick up Smith. The bus had on its yellow flashing lights, stop bar out and red lights engaged, law enforcement officials said.

Smith was at the bus stop with Bryant when a 2011 Kia Sorento driven by Waterhouse — traveling northbound — continued through the bus’ stop signals, striking both Smith and Bryant, police said.

The THP’s preliminary incident report said Waterhouse attempted to go past the bus while Smith was crossing the road to board the bus. When Bryant realized Waterhouse was not going to stop, she ran into the road “and used her body to protect” her grandson, the THP said.

Both Smith and Bryant were transported to Johnson City Medical Center. THP Sgt. Diane Mays said Thursday Smith suffered a broken left femur and skull fracture with brain injury. Bryant suffered a head injury, a puncture wound to her left leg and possible broken ribs, Mays said.

Mays said Friday afternoon that Bryant was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, and as of 1:30 p.m. Friday, Smith was in surgery for his broken leg.

Waterhouse was released on bond following the hearing.

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